Did you ever wonder what the largest house in America was? Did you know that house is over 100 years old, 127 to be exact? Come along as I can take you on a tour that will amaze you at every turn. Here’s the rundown of my visit to the Biltmore House in Asheville, North Carolina this fall.
Built over six years in the 1890’s, Biltmore House is the legacy of George Washington Vanderbilt II. He was the youngest son of William Henry Vanderbilt who created his billions in the shipping and railroad industries. The main house is situated on a lush 8000 acres overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains. The home was originally meant to be a country getaway for George and his extended family. The gardens at Biltmore House have a conservatory with 100’s of varieties of plants, flowers, and succulents. All of the plants are labeled for easy identification, which this photographer loves!
The interior of the mansion is on a timed tour schedule. You need to purchase your tickets and select a time to enter the house. This helps manage the crowds, which were not too bad when I visited in early October. (This time was considered right at the beginning of peak season.) The fall leaves were just changing outdoors, and the Christmas trees were starting to be decorated inside.
The audio tour is self-guided and takes you through many of the floors, loggia, and downstairs servant’s quarters. You will visit the indoor swimming pool, maid’s quarters, kitchen, as well as the ornate living rooms upstairs. Interesting history and snippets of family goings on are included in the audio from historians and family members’ recollections.
Winery and Shops
After the 90-minute house tour, you can enjoy many other amenities. A winery is located in “Deer Park” a short 15-minute drive on the property. The winery was established by Vanderbilt’s grandson, William A.V. Cecil, in 1971. There are free tastings and a large selection of wine, cider and gifts located at the winery. They even ship to 40 states if you’d like to take something home for later.
In addition, the restaurants on the property are exquisite. Homemade dishes, breads, and desserts to tempt many tastes, served with a Southern flair. The prices are reasonable for what you’d expect for fresh cuisine prepared by chefs on the property. Take home a memory from the many shops located throughout the grounds. And, don’t forget to visit Amherst at Deerpark®.
The onsite venue houses traveling exhibitions and meeting space for different events. Currently, “Italian Renaissance Alive” is being presented, free with your Biltmore ticket at the venue. George’s love of art reflects this exhibition, and the experience does not disappoint.
Biltmore House is well worth a special trip to North Carolina and the city of Asheville. I flew into Charlotte, and drove the 2 hours into Asheville. You will need transportation if you want to see more than the main house on the Biltmore property. So, I’d recommend a rental car for this trip.
Check out more travel ideas from my website: KathyHusserTempe.com